Backstreets

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Entry 2968 20/02/11 04:20
On closer inspection, it became apparent that every altar had on it a human body wrapped in cloth. The smell became almost unbearable to stand near. Flies rushed up towards Lekz as he went to touch one of them. Caught off guard, he did not hear the other person until it was too late. There was an arm tightly hooked around Lekz' neck and something sharp pressing against his stomach again. 

"We meet again," Gabriel said fiercely into Lekz' ear. "What are you now, an Imperial guard? You shouldn't be down here. There are dead people here." 
 
Entry 2969 (21/02/11 20:31) 20/02/11 04:22
Startled by both the body and the boy, Lekz barked, "What are you doing here!?"
 
Entry 2970 20/02/11 04:25
Gabriel sheathed his blade and covered Lekz' mouth with his hand. "Shut up, you toad. Somebody will hear us. We're collecting fresh samples. What do you think we're doing?"

He picked Lekz up off his feet and swung a leg around Lekz' leg. He dropped the boy and twisted his leg, sending Lekz forward so that he fell to the floor when Gabriel released him. 

"What will you do about it, hmm?"
 
Entry 2971 20/02/11 04:34
Lekz rolled over and put his back to the alter. The smell of dead flesh made him gag and start to retch, but he managed to swallow it down before making a mess of himself. "Nothing I guess," he choked out, hoping it was what Gabriel wanted to hear. Lekz looked up at his aggressor. There was no way out that he could see except through Gabriel. He hadn't planned on getting caught, but who does really?
 
Entry 2972 (20/02/11 04:44) 20/02/11 04:39
"Nothing," Gabriel echoed. "A typical reply from a little girl. So you won't even offer to help out? What a wretch. Boys, I know where we can get some even fresher samples."

He dropped to his knees before Lekz and lifted up the boy's shirt, pressing a blade against his skin. He paused and watched Lekz' eyes. His actions didn't really make sense, and his intent could barely be fathomed. He waited for Lekz to do or say something else. 
 
Entry 2973 (20/02/11 04:47) 20/02/11 04:44
Lekz stared at him with cold resolve. For a moment, it seemed neither boy would break the silence. Being talkative by his nature, Lekz leaned in and with a malicious smile retorted, "I don't like you."
 
Entry 2974 20/02/11 04:53
Gabriel smiles for the first time Lekz has seen, but the smile is in no way comforting or reassuring. 

"I don't like you, either," he says. He plunges a thin, sharp dagger straight into Lekz' upper left arm too fast for him to react to. He feels it strike and scratch the bone and he presses on it for a second, as blood seeps out. "Now I like you, becaues you've become useful..." he says, firmly holding the dagger in place.
 
Entry 2975 (20/02/11 18:49) 20/02/11 18:44
Lekz cried out in surprise as the blood trickled down his side. He tried to escape the searing pain by pushing away from Gabriel, but that only exacerbated the wound. Despite having his face twisted into a grimace, Lekz' eyes never left his attacker. The childish part of his mind reassured Lek'z that Gabriel couldn't kill him as long as he didn't break his gaze, because on some level, the boy couldn't help but think of this as part of a very twisted game.

In short broken gasps, he cried out, "Stop! How is this useful at all!" Tears welled up in Lekz' eyes as Gabriel twisted the blade slightly. Out of reflex, Lekz seized Gabriel's wrist and tried to pull the dagger out.
 
Entry 2976 21/02/11 10:52
"Because," Gabriel began, "you're the most convenient source of blood, and that's the last ingredient I need. But I don't need to kill you." 

He yanked out the dagger and smacked a slice of lemon over Lekz' wound. Without explaining where he got a fresh slice of lemon, he carefully wiped his dagger with a white cloth. He paused and watched Lekz clasp the red-stained lemon over his wound. With a swift thrust of his elbow, he slammed Lekz into the land of the unconscious. 

-------------------------

The first thing visible to Lekz was an old, dried blood splatter on the carved stone floor. It shimmered orange in the light of several dozen candles which were arranged in a rough circle. In the middle knelt Gabriel, staring blankly ahead. He was not wearing his trenchcoat or shirt. Over all but his neck and head were amazingly intricate tattoos. Swirls of fire, snakes, chains, vines and tendrils of plants, raging oceans and blazing suns, and beams of light were depicted on almost every inch of his skin, glistening golden with sweat in the warm, thick air. On his chest was a black dragon perched on a blade, its clawed hands grasping the hilt of the sword. The dragon seemed to boast a glowing halo. The other children were standing around at a short distance, sitting or kneeling silently. It could not be told how long Gabriel had been kneeling there, but judging by how much he was perspiring, it had to have been quite some time. 

"I can't remember..." Gabriel's voice was soft and fragile, unlike any tone he had previously used. "I can never remember the rest..." He held up the white blood-stained cloth and smeared it on both his cheeks. "It feels so... so close. And then it's gone. Just like that. I can never grasp it. I can never remember what to do next. Everything my heart desires. Everything my mind aspires for. My destiny slips between my fingers, not quickly and painlessly like water; but rather slowly, achingly..." He cringed. "Ever so painfully, like holding the candle of life in the palm of my hand, burnt down to its last minute."

He fell completely silent and stared over Lekz into darkness. 
 
Entry 2977 (22/02/11 00:55) 22/02/11 00:53
Lekz laid on the cold floor mesmerized by Gabriel's monologue. The child's eyes traced the tattoos on Gabriel's body wondering what story they told. Although Lekz empathized with the pain in the other boy's voice, the dull throbbing radiating from the back of his own skull did not afford him much sympathy. Lekz squeezed the lemon that was still dutifully against the wound in his arm and clenched his teeth as the juices burned their way through the cut. Any pain he experienced now was still preferable to an infection later.

Even in Gabriel's trance like state and the element of surprise, Lekz doubted he could win a fight. The child glanced between the door he had enter and the row of children behind Gabriel. The dark room was far to linear. At full sprint, Lekz would still likely be caught and more importantly... punished.

He instead sat up on his knees and meet Gabriel's gaze. The candle light flickered in Lek'z blue eyes. He neither smiled nor spoke; he just stared in silence.
 
Entry 2978 22/02/11 04:46
There was silence and stillness for a long time. Two of the candles committed suicide and spluttered, extinguishing themselves due to a lack of supporting wax and wick. A rat actually approached Gabriel and sniffed at him. It was ignored, so it scampered back into the shadows. He patted the stone before him, encouraging Lekz to move closer.

"What is it you desire, my friend?" Gabriel asked. He looked dreamily into Lekz' eyes, his own shimmering, unblinking, moist, tired. "Do you desire knowledge? I think we all do, at some point. That is what I can offer you. You want to know, don't you? Deep down, in your heart's heart, you want to know. You can feel it. I offer you knowledge in exchange for the smallest portion of your time."

He ran his fingers slowly down his own body as though he was blind and trying to search for braille. 

"Help me find what I always forget, Lekz. I wrote it all down. All the answers to everything. It's all written down, and now I can't find it."
"Gabriel, he c..." one of the children began, but Gabriel silenced them by holding up his hand. 
"No. Lekz is different. I could tell, from the first moment I saw. He sees this world differently. His mind isn't worn down. Will you decline my perfect proposition?"
 
Entry 2979 (22/02/11 05:00) 22/02/11 04:59
Lekz shuffled on his knees stopping just short of arms reach.

"There are things I want to know," Lekz stated. He didn't believe Gabriel had answers for him, but to avoid awakening the dangerous side of the boy, Lekz continued, "What would you have me do?"
 
Entry 2980 22/02/11 05:05
Gabriel rolled his head in frustation and relaxed his entire body; his arms fell limp and his hands were rested on the warm stone. He released a heavy breath and licked his dry lips. 

"What would I have you do... Just... help me. It is not an easy task. I know that I wrote everything where I would never lose it. Would you come back with me to our home and help me search? The other children are blind. You, my friend, can see. I shant hurt you anymore... not now that I can see how valuable you are to me."

He waved a hand in front of his face and then, slowly, with a great deal of effort, he stood and placed his hands on Lekz' shoulders. He gripped the boy tightly. "Will you come back?"
 
Entry 2981 22/02/11 05:08
Lekz' eyes shifted between Gabriel and the hand on his shoulder. "I guess you're not going to take no as an answer," he said with a nervous smile.
 
Entry 2982 22/02/11 05:17
Gabriel sighed and patted Lekz on the head. 

"Good boy."

------------------------------------

Back at the home, the other children no longer jeered at Lekz. They did not make him clean up messes, nor did they blame him for their quarrels. They did not eat the best food and leave the scraps for him. Lekz was now feared; he got the first and best bits of food, the best sleeping area besides Gabriel's bed (though in all honesty, every 'bed' was merely a pile of sacks), and he was not spoken to unless he started a conversation with any of them. They did not meet or challenge his gaze, and tried to move out of his way if he walked anywhere in the room. 

Gabriel eventually came out of his room and called Lekz within. His room was peculiar. The only light came from a large glass lantern which black drawings over the glass, sending inconsistent smears of light all over the wooden walls which were covered in childish drawings. Gabriel's bed was an actual bed, though it was messy and dirty, and the once-white bedsheets were bedaubed cream, grey, and brown. There was also a countless number of other items around the room; many pieces of clothing, boots, helmets, pieces of armour and jewellery, random cuts of rope, and many old boxes filled with the sort of items one would expect to find in the attic of an old family home. 

Gabriel tugged off his coat and tossed himself onto his bed. With a moan he rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. 

"So Lekz, tell me more about yourself. I need to know exactly who you are, if we're to work together. Where were you born? What did your parents do? How did you get here? Are you an orphan? Where are you going? Start talking."
 
Entry 2983 (22/02/11 05:38) 22/02/11 05:35
"There's not much to say," the boy started, "I can't remember anything before a few months ago." He paused. A complex expression washed over his face. He seemed to be carefully inspecting each word he had just spoken.

"No, that's not right," he continued, "It's just hazy, unclear pictures, words, faces, but they don't make any sense. They're like a thousand different stories, like a thousand lives"

He sat down on the floor and looked up at the splashes of light on the wall. His eyes drifted across the room lost in his own thought. It was during times like this, the quiet times, that the story of his whole past was at the tip of his tongue.

"A farmer found me. I had a really bad fever which is probably why I can't remember anything. I wouldn't even know my name if Hart didn't ask it of me before I passed out." Lekz found that thought strangely amusing. As though the most important detail of his life was a single identifying word. For all he knew, it was.
 
Entry 2984 22/02/11 05:43
Gabriel lifted his head as he listened. His face grew more and more interested.

"Lekz... I am the same as you. There are images in my mind. I can see all the right answers, directly before me, but they are out of reach. My arms are chained to my side and I cannot reach out, but I can almost see it. It's so close."

He jumped off the bed and dropped to his knees before Lekz. "Everything that has been and everything that ever will be is written down. I must find it. Do you understand the important of this? You and I, Lekz... We are brothers. But we are tired brothers." He smiled at Lekz. "Do you want to do something or do you want to rest?"
 
Entry 2985 22/02/11 05:53
Lekz didn't really understand what Gabriel meant, but he saw no reason to argue. "I didn't leave that farm to nap about in this city," Lekz said with a toothy grin. He still wasn't certain how he could help, but Lekz wasn't going to complain about the free food and shelter. Though he had to admit, the way the other children now treated him was a bit uncomfortable.
 
Entry 2988 (23/02/11 23:11) 23/02/11 23:11
"I like the way you think. But I need to paint you a picture." He waved his hand across Lekz' eyes. "This land, South Ideitess, it is ruled by a monstrous man. He is the Emperor Voldagen. His armies are the Imperials. His law is The Holy Balentias. This law says that he is a god. It also says his armies make their own rules, and any superior can dominate anybody beneath them. Now I know what you're thinking: Voldagen isn't a god! Well let me tell you, Voldagen has the entire land in his grasp because he truly is a god. He isn't a god in the way we know it, but he is a god of circumstance. His power is that he holds a key to the Gate of Erivalfa. This gate holds off unimaginable horrors, and he keeps the gate closed as long as the people obey him. To offend Voldagen is to watch your loved ones being torn apart, limb by limb, by beasts which feed on pained screams and nightmares.”

“This is the place where I wrote it down. I know that. It’s the thing I am most sure of. In this city – the city of Merlases – with its bridges and mighty cathedral, are all the answers to everything. Now, this is our setting. If you had all the secrets, and you had to write them down, where would you write them?”

He placed a hand on Lekz’ shoulder and stared at him as though it would encourage profound thought. In that moment, it seemed that the tattoos on the back of his hand were made up not of flat shades of ink but of tiny words. 
 
Latest Post Entry 2996 24/02/11 01:20
As the gates of Erivalfa were described to him, Lekz felt the hairs raise on the back of his neck. "Good thing I don't remember who my loved ones are," he said in a poor attempt at humor. Although he didn't know why, Gabriel's words had a way of piercing straight to his core. Lekz tried to hide it, but the idea of following Gabriel anywhere near that gate terrified him.

Lekz eyed Gabriel's arm from the corner of his eye. A strange comfort flowed through him as his eyes glided over the glyphs twirling up the boy's arm. "What about these," he gestured towards the tattoos, "What do these say?"
 
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